A screenshot of the app Vine.
Vine, a new video-sharing app from Twitter, is off to a rocky start.
But despite these early bumps in the road, Vine may have potential for storytellers and journalists who want to add video to their repertoire of social media skills.
“Most of the videos people make right now on phones are boring,” said Drake Martinet, social editor for Now This News, a website for social and mobile video news.
He says that joining Vine just made sense to all of the people who work at Now This News — or as he described them, “people who live on the Internet.”
Vine allows users to create six-second videos by pressing down on the screen of their phone. Cuts can be made by lifting the finger and repositioning the camera to shoot from a different angle. The app is available in the iOS App Store and is integrated with Twitter, making the video clips easy to share.
Vine bridges an important gap between GIFs and longer videos, Martinet said.
Cyrus Moussavi, a video journalist at Now This News, used Vine when surveying Hurricane Sandy damage earlier this week. The six-second videos were paired with text in a blog format that Martinet says gave context and a sense of place to the story.
“Vine lends itself to a fun media outlet,” said Stacey Leasca, social media editor at Global Post, a worldwide news website.
Global Post is primarily using Vine for branding purposes and reaching out to their audience, Leasca said, but she has seen other publications use the app for breaking news coverage, such as spontaneous protests.
Priscilla Patterson, a broadcast journalism student at the University of Texas at Austin, said that she first used Vine to cover a local chili festival and received a strong response from her audience.
“People have such short attention spans, you want something that grabs their attention,” she said. “ I love [Vine]. I am obsessed with it.”
Patterson praised the user interface that made posting to Twitter hassle-free, and said she plans to use Vine regularly to create “buzz” about her upcoming stories.
One of the biggest appeals of Vine is the editing capability of stringing smaller clips together. This added ability does leave some concern, though, about how accurately a journalist can portray a situation, said Brady Teufel, an assistant professor in the Department of Journalism at California Polytechnic State University.
“Context is everything in journalism,” Teufel said. “The potential for the message to be clouded or misconstrued is pretty high.”
He said journalists using technology like Vine to cover news should keep in mind which situations would be best for short, visual storytelling devices. He sees gathering raw footage during breaking news situations as the ideal place to effectively use Vine.
“It is up to the newsgatherer to add context,” he said.
Only time will tell if journalists grab on to Vine and use it regularly to cover stories and engage with their audience. Martinet says that Now This News will continue to approach the challenge of using Vine in creative ways.
“Vine doesn’t create new problems,” said Martinet. “It creates the challenge of how to be brief but also interesting.”
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